Two Views on China

Yesterday, Aron Sarin published an article at Quillette titled  Beijing in Retreat.   Also yesterday, Barrons published China’s Comeback is Getting Started.  (“Stocks Soar as China Revs Up its Reopening” in the print version)  You can read the Quillette piece for yourself, and should, but the Barrons article will require a subscription.

To summarize, the Quillette piece focuses on China’s birthrate deficit (likely to be exacerbated in the future by the memory of the bad treatment of pregnant women during the lockdowns, as well as by a pervasive feeling of gloom about the future)…China’s inability to manufacture high-end semiconductor chips…pervasive corruption…and the fact that in the modern world…the persistence of poverty….and declining trust in the CCP.  “The Chinese people learned that they can enjoy no certainty about the future and that Xi’s obsession with order leads, paradoxically, to chaos.”

The tone of the Barrons piece is rather different:

The catalyst is clear.  Policy makers in the world’s largest economy are pulling out the stops to revive the economy and get its 1.4 billion people spending more, after three hard years of stringent Covid restrictions and harsh crackdowns on technology and other industries.  Beijing has totally reversed its zero-Covid policy and had begun loosening regulations on business.  Up next: more stimulus to stabilize the residential property market.  “Domestically, all the switches that can be switched on have been moved toward growth, and there’s a lot of momentum behind it,” said David Semple of the VanEck Emerging Markets fund.  

(I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s passage in which Glendower says, “I can call spirits from the vasty deep,” to which Hotspur replies, “Why, so can I, or so can any man;  But will they come when you do call for them?)

Various metrics are cited to suggest a recovery: Subway traffic across 23 cities has returned to prepandemic levels, hundreds of millions are traveling for the Lunar New Year,  Citigroup analysts expect the domestic travel industry to recover to more than 85% of pre-Covid levels by the second half of this year.

The article notes that China is a formidable rival to the US in the ‘renewable energy’ sector, given its strengths in battery technology and rare-earth minerals.  It also notes that Chinese policy makers wanting to address the birthrate decline “might offer incentives for couples to have children, such as cash payouts or even making workplace promotions conditional on having a child.”  (Future conversation: “Mommy, why did you and daddy decide to have me?”  “Well, son….)

Abhay Desphande of Centerstone seems less optimistic about China’s future than many of the other individuals quoted:  “Xi is boxed in with multiple policy failures with his gambits with the US, his approach to the private sector and real estate, and people angry i the streets.  One lever he can pursue very aggressively is the economic lever to get people working,  get the economy going.  And even though he may change his attitude toward private enterprises in a few years, for now, he needs that part of the economy to work.

My question would be whether Xi can really step back from his highly centralizing worldview enough to truly reignite sustainable economic growth, however much he wants to.

China remains, of course, a formidable economic power, and there are many, many important products required by the US and other countries whose supply requires Chinese participation, either for the complete products or for essential components and materials.  Semiconductors are far from being the only items that are essential to the US economy and to the welfare of its people.  And the US economy, especially in manufacturing but by no means limited to that industry,  is being hampered by the worldview of the present administration, which is itself very centralizing in its orientation.

Your thoughts?

47 thoughts on “Two Views on China”

  1. It won’t really matter if China rises or falls, because we are headed for a fall. There’s no clean way out of our current situation. The Republicans can’t (or more correctly, won’t) deliver squat, and the Democrats will only continue to tear Western civilization down. So we’re fooked.

  2. Lots of crowing in the West about China’s declining birth rate. But at the same time China is already the world’s largest user of industrial robots, and their lead is increasing. With more automation, fewer young people entering the job market may not be much of a problem.

    As for chip manufacturing, remember that China has gone in about a quarter of a century from being an also-ran to being the world’s largest manufacturer of steel, ships, automobiles, electronic goods. They also have the world’s largest cohort of engineers & scientists coming out of universities (our universities as well as theirs). Probably not a good idea to dismiss the possibility that China’s progress in chip-making will follow a similar path.

    On the other hand, China has lost of problems, with increasing political central planning being an obvious barrier to progress. Still, would you rather have China’s problems or the US’s problems? And let’s not talk about Europe’s problems!

  3. Something unprecedented happened in China in the last couple of months. The CCP blinked. They backed down in the face of widespread and increasing civil outrage. Bear in mind that while the proximate cause of this outrage was the covid policy that has since ended, the collateral damage from this is becoming plain. Some huge number of jobs has simply disappeared, some huge number of employers have as well.

    The implosion of the insane Chinese housing sector is a fact that’s not going to go away. All that money is gone and it’s not coming back. One aspect that isn’t talked about much is that local governments are dependent on revenue from leasing ground to developers for day to day operations. Word has leaked out from several cities that salaries have been drastically cut or not paid at all. What happens in a police state when the police aren’t getting paid? How will they stimulate domestic consumption when everyone’s savings has evaporated?

    The CCP blinked, they didn’t send in the tanks. It’s not 1989 any more. Details of the aftermath of Tiananmen Square are still slowly filtering out after 34 years. Had it happened now, video would be posted in hours if not minutes. I don’t know what the effect of video of the PLA hosing the remains of a few thousand protestors down the storm drains would have on the rest of the world but the unwonted unity of the West in the face of Russian aggression may have given Xi pause or the certainty that they would eventually circulate behind the Great Firewall.

    I don’t know where China is headed from here but I’m betting it’s not a continuation of 2019.

  4. Worked for a company that was one of the early entries in the Chinese market. It was fairly obvious to the rank and file employees that China was going to get all they could from an info dump, and then dump the company. But, the company’s administration was so fixated by the dollar signs dancing in front of their eyes that they could not see the warning signs of what was to come. Yes, China is a huge market with a large money potential. It is also corrupt, with the upper levels trying to micromanage everybody’s life. Trusting the numbers from such a state appears to be more wishing-and-hoping than reasoned analysis.
    Makes you wonder why so many ‘elites’ in the US speak so highly of how China runs things.

  5. I’m going to echo what MCS and Gavin said, everyone has problems and the Chinese are no different in what will be Avery tumultuous decade for everyone. Xi and his ideological sidekick Wang have been trying to thread the needle in terms of maintaining social stability along with economic development as they see the deep cultural divides in the U.S. as warning signs. Will they be successful? They’re not 100 foot tall supermen and they have tremendous problems with corruption, declining population, and social disruptors like asset bubbles. We all have problems

    Some other thoughts….

    A good book project would be to go back and a metal analysis of the past 20 years of academic and popular writings concerning China. It seems to me spot of the writing obscures more than enlightens because it’ll linked to a larger agenda pushed by the writer. Thomas Friedman’s fanboy comment about being China for a day case in point. It’s always hard to see things from outside of your own biases but we have been criminally negligent in viewing China as we wish and not as it is

    As far as lock downs I always felt China was going to face serous problems from riding the lockdown tiger because at some point you have to get off. So why did they start I go back to late 2019 when the outbreaks first began… They were telling the world that this had jumped vanilla an speed of the response made me suspect a rat, that is a lab leak.

    The other is what MCS mentioned.. Why didn’t they send in the tanks to crash the protests? I’m going to go with they didn’t have the resources to quell and multiple cities at once: Tiananmen was a different and much simpler tactical problem. Perhaps they also concluded that all things considered it was time. Compare and contrast with anger case study in multi city unrest inIran

  6. While the West snickers at Chinas upcoming population decline the Chinese are probably congratulating themselves on not having to deal with vast banlieues filled with vibrants. Also I don’t see the Chinese being very eager to strangle their population and industry in the name of Gaia worship. Chairman Xi seems at least nominally interested in the welfare of the Chinese people, our leader in the West have gone Woke on the local population.

  7. Makes you wonder why so many ‘elites’ in the US speak so highly of how China runs things.

    Most of us don’t “wonder.” The corruption is easy to see.

    Chairman Xi seems at least nominally interested in the welfare of the Chinese people, our leader in the West have gone Woke on the local population.

    He may not be that interested in their “welfare” but he is insane as so many in west are. The climate scam is so obvious that anyone outside could see it. The moral panic we see now in the west already happened in China with the Red Guards.

  8. NCS: “The CCP blinked. They backed down in the face of widespread and increasing civil outrage.”

    That is one possible explanation. Here is another.

    As we all know by now, Covid was a scam. Yes, there was a disease, but it was not a serious epidemic. It was comparable to the flu that assists thousands of the old & sick into the grave every year. What made Covid different at the beginning was those (staged?) photos from China of well-dressed working-age men dropping dead on the streets. China made a big fuss about Covid, and the rest of the world took fright and followed along with all the lockdown nonsense. Monkey see, monkey do.

    What China was really doing was waging economic war on the West. China’s reaction to Covid cost China — but the impact on the West was much larger. Win for China.

    More recently the CCP tried to repeat the performance — but this time, the West did not follow along. So the CCP quite wisely simply abandoned round #2 of the CovidScam.

    Remember that China is used to protests. It is a crowded country, and over the last couple of decades of rapid growth, there have been tens of thousands of protests as people were forced off their land to make way for development. But Chinese protests are not US protests — an excuse for looting by the underclass. The only real difference with the Chinese CovidScam protests is that Western media covered them.

    Let’s also remember that if China does run into real problems, it is going to have massive repercussions for us — given that we are so heavily dependent on China for manufactured goods. If China fails, we are still stuck with a de-industrialized, under-skilled, over-indebted, over-lawyered, import-dependent country with a corrupt intrusive government. We have our own problems to fix!

  9. “China is a formidable rival to the US in the ‘renewable energy’ sector”

    We already know that every aspect of renewable energy is a scam. The science, the economics, the govt policies and the news media coverage.

    We already have sufficient evidence of renewable failure around the world — Europe right now is an obvious case study — to stop careening down this road toward the canyon. Even the low information zombies have enough info now to vote to stop the madness.

    Of course, given that our betters have learned nothing from their Covid idiocy and dishonesty, stolen elections loom far into the future, and our media and big tech appear determined to help Big Brother complete the transition to 1984, I have no confidence that the US will prosper. The big question is whether reversing the transition will require violence.

  10. “David Foster
    January 29, 2023 at 9:08 pm”

    I suspect that to OC [and admit that I may well be wrong] that the key part of his point was: There’s no clean way out of our current situation..

    Given the failures of the party system that he mentions, and what I [and many others] see as the failure of the integrity of the electoral system in this country, mixed with extreme differentials in the enforcement of law based on who are rulers and who are ruled, and the ‘clean ways’ are pretty much moot.

    The thing we need to fear as a society and culture is just this lack of a ‘clean way’. Every society and culture has a set of rules as to what makes the government legitimate. If it is a stable and working society and culture, those rules are accepted by an overwhelming majority of its members. There will always be 3-5% who are non-compliant. That is the “lunatic fringe”, and incidentally they cover the span of the Bell Curve as far as abilities and intelligence. But almost all of the remaining 95-97% accept the legitimacy of those rules, and the honesty of their application as making the society and culture legitimate.

    Funny thing about humans. It may go back to the earliest tribal days before larger groups formed, but there normally is no middle ground between a working legitimate political entity and violence. Clausewitz was right, Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln. War is merely a continuation of Politics by other means.

    I think OC is making a prediction based on the situation we face. It is not optimistic, but it is not irrational.

    “They will do what they will do. We will do what we will do. And only the Great Blue Sky Tengri Nor . . . .

    Subotai Bahadur

  11. Here’s savant that’s supposed to be in the business of keeping track of China belaboring what was obvious, even to me, three years ago:

    He still hasn’t caught on that the magical 6% growth rate is just as much a fiction as the supposed 6,000 Chinese dead from covid.

    The truth is that China’s teetering on the abyss; one more stupid move on Xi’s part is all it will take. Hope Taiwan’s paying attention, Xi might feel like doubling down on stupid. It’s not like the fools in the Pentagon are likely to look up from their obsession with gender studies and redesigning body armor to accommodate the needs of trans soldiers.

  12. Here’s another step on the road to China’s world domination:

    Short version: Xi decided to teach Australians a lesson for uppityness and and the temerity to contradict the Chinese point of view. At one point there were more than 80 ships loaded with more than 1,000,000 tons of Australian coal sitting off the Chinese coast, unable to land their cargo. Sure taught the Australians a lesson – except the coal had already been paid for by the Chinese companies that needed it, so the Australians just shrugged and went on shipping their coal to everyone else. China, on the other hand, had blackouts and brown skies from burning their inferior domestic soft coal.

    This is the sort of strategic acumen that’s going to beggar us all?

  13. Its like watching savages around a camp fire. “We were always right and those crazy other people were always wrong.”

    “As we all know by now, Covid was a scam.”

    A scam that killed about 1.2 million Americans so far.

    “We already know that every aspect of renewable energy is a scam.”

    Fossil fuel is already not competitive with any of the renewable sources of energy. With China about to cut the cost of solar panels in half that will just get much worse.

  14. Fossil fuel is already not competitive with any of the renewable sources of energy.

    A lie from the troll. No surprise. The subsidies and tax rebates are not enough to make this true even if you are that ignorant.

  15. My new car costs me about 4 cents a mile to fuel. That comes from BC Hydro a 98% clean and renewable power source. Nearly 20% of that is private companies taking advantage of BC Hydro’s mandate to buy any clean power offered to it. There is wind and solar that people have built to sell to BC Hydro, and they make money.

    About 25% of Europe’s power is wind power now and solar is also ramping up there.

    Most of your coal mines would make more money by shutting down, and covering the area in panels.

    If China really does cut panel costs in half, it will become economic to hang panels on every damn thing for a bit of power, that will add up to large amounts total. I will have to reconsider solar to power my car, as it may be the best way.

    As to electric cars, they are head and shoulders above ICE vehicles in so many ways. No warm up, I used to plan my day so my BRZ would not suffer from short drives. Now it does not matter at all. Its so strong and not just in certain ways, its strong all the time. From a drivers perspective, its instant power anytime. That is not the same as ICE vehicles as there is always a delay, and they only really work well at certain RPM levels. The difference in driving is exhilarating and I have to be careful to not get carried away. The regenerative braking is just perfect, and makes brake use almost optional most of the time.

    The drawbacks. ;) Its very much concerned with my safety. It has radar on the front, and both back corners. It has LIDAR/Cameras all over it, some 12 I believe. So it can see whats around its self very well indeed. It is most concerned that I might miss something, so it will highlight on its laptop sized screen any humans it can see in front of you and make yellow arrows pointing to the source of its concern. It can see cars when I am backing up, and will highlight them if it thinks they are relevant. Taking it off road was most amusing as I elected to not take a spiky trail in my new car and backed up and turned around. It was most upset about the myriad things around me and my screen was a mess of yellow bars showing every damn thing. It even braked to stop me hitting a branch. I was very much amused, and laughed at my crazy car as I extracted it. I may turn some of that off, next time I go in the bush. ;)

  16. 1) Clean and renewable power produced by BC Hydro? 98% of it is hydroelectric. I don’t know the stats for the other provinces but I would imagine it to be similar with exception of the 3 small Atlantic provinces. An accident of geography. The remaining renewal is geothermal with no appreciable solar or wind.

    2) you can’t build a reliable grid solely on solar or wind due to times when they simple do not generate power. Even if you over build a renewable system to account for a decrease in generation from nameplate capacity (somewhere around 35%) any multiple of 0_is well zero. You basically have to maintain a non renewable power capacity equal to the 100% of the grid. So the cost of a solar install is basically replicated in its fossil fuel counterpart. The same with power storage, you would have to build a system that would need to store days worth of power and such a system, whether hydrogen or battery, on that scale doesn’t exit.

    I’s about grid reliability -_you can over build a wind plant that on good days it supplies 120% on some days and close to zero the next. Average power generation doesn’t cut it

    There is poor accounting lifecycle costs (I wonder why) for building A grid based on would need to duplicate your fossil fuel generation or construct a parallel storage network. Also you would need to recapitalize your wind and solar farms.every 10 years, disposal, support, and cost of land use. Oh yeah

    Energy’s role in an economy is be available precisely at the time where it is needed. Anything below that threshold starts to seriously degrade your economy. From the metal requirements for filling the need to move the necessary tonnage and people in a reliable manner to keep.a modern economy going renewables don’t scale

    Ha see German coal production was up13% in 2022? Wonder why…and that was with most of the year with Russian gas. How much more this year?

    Francis over at Manhattan Contrarian does a good job on the numbers

    Relying on the Chinese for.your s

  17. Talking about energy, China is apparently not counting on the Midnight Sun to keep the power flowing from solar panels. China currently has 55 operable nuclear reactors, 21 more under construction, and another 203 in the planning pipeline.

    Thanks to those distant days when the US was really the US, we currently have 98 old operable reactors approaching the end of their licenses, but only 2 under construction and 21 in the planning process. And we all know that most of those in the US planning pipeline will never be built.

    Nuclear plants powering factories filled with robots. We should not misunderestimate China.

  18. if there was a serious downturns what holds such an internal empire together, do we have the return of warlordism, like after the fall of Sun yatsen, and the rise of Mao,

  19. that’s why we needed the industrial revolution back when we were a mere fraction of the population

  20. “There are few things more reliable than wind in the North Sea.”

    The output of a coal-fired, gas-fired, or nuclear power plant is approximately twice as reliable as wind in the North Sea. Here’s the quote from a UK study which looked at the economic performance of wind factories, including the actual load factors for offshore wind:
    “The average load factors for offshore wind farms less than five years old in NW Europe mostly fall in the range 40-45%. That is the best they will achieve over their lifetimes and as the age their performance will decline.”

  21. Another thought came to me…

    Just finished a fast read of Edward Chancellor’s “Price of Time” and he mentioned a concept I reminded from a methodologies class long ago…Goodhart’s Law which has its roots in !but Jersey policy and states basically that when a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure

    Apply it to renewable energy policy which has its roots in decarbonization and therefore is measured by success in reaching that target as opposed to constructing a viable 365/24/7 grid that is carbon free.

    There is alot of food for thought. I have been focusing alot of my private writing as of late on the manipulation and corruption of public policy. Goodhart’s Law points toward a relatively innocent bias that can lead to a drift in policy focus. However I have been thinking now that with prior knowledge of Goodhart, as with all laws of human behavior, how it can be manipulated.

  22. Measures will always become targets. What’s important is for the measure to be something that’s truly desirable and faithfully represents the real world. The only way else is if the measure is never communicated back to the source. That would not seem conducive to improvement.

    Something Mike K. has talked about is that when surgical outcomes of surgeons are tracked and publicized, some, at least, respond by taking only the most straight forward cases. Also see any sort of work incentive program. It seems the least productive people are the ones that show the most initiative with gaming these things.

    A true measure of these renewables would start by spreading out the total energy produced in a year over the entire 8,765 hours of that year and then assessing penalties for variability. Increasing output above demand is just as big a problem as falling short when you’re running a power grid. A proper measure should also recognize that when output does fall short, it is the most inefficient and most polluting plants that can be spun up quickly enough to keep the grid stable. Then the monetary cost of maintaining these as well as the carbon cost of building and running them should be counted against the renewables. Note that this already happens in the real world except it’s called the electric bill. The last thing any of the advocates of renewable power ever talk about. Or, when they do, they forget about the huge subsidies that just magically appear in the bank accounts.

  23. “The output of a coal-fired, gas-fired, or nuclear power plant is approximately twice as reliable as wind in the North Sea.”

    So the North Sea is a serious source of energy and very reliable indeed. No wonder the smart people have leveraged this resource.

  24. Polysilicate is one of the main materials solar panels are made from. The price of it has dropped about 50% since Nov 2022 and it looks like we may see 20 cents a watt in the fairly near future, for solar panels.

    My last set of calculations assumed $1 a watt, about a year ago. I certainly can make power at that panel cost. it will be cheaper than BC Hydro, fairly quickly, if I can source panels at 50 cents a watt.

    Very interesting. ;)

  25. Penny sez:
    “Polysilicate is one of the main materials solar panels are made from.”

    Well, it has been nearly 50 years since I got my degree in chemistry, but my faint recollection is that you have gotten chemical nomenclature wrong. The term ‘silicate’ means that the silicon atom is bonded to oxygen. Think sand, or quartz. Or maybe ‘water glass’ (NaSi02), say for long term egg preservation. Useful for one who likes to suck eggs, among many, many practical uses. Wanna make some? Try sand + Sodium Hydroxide + heat and Bob’s your Uncle. Pretty cheap too.

    Perhaps you are thinking of polysilicon? Made via an entirely different process, but energy intensive. You can do it if your energy costs are competative, say if you have hydro, coal, natural gas or nuclular power plants. If solar or wind, forget it. Perhaps you see the inherant contradiction? Nah, I doubt it.

    One other minor contradiction- I recently saw an online article that said that solar power installation owners above the snow line don’t bother to clear the snow off of their panels, they wait until it melts. Why is that? Thank goodnes that it doesn’t snow up there in the frozen north.

  26. You are of course right. Polysilicon is what is becoming very cheap now. You might consider that the farther north you are the steeper the panels are, but yes snow removal is a thing.

    So 20c a watt does not make you think?

  27. MCS,

    I like the example of the.surgeons gaming the system. I’ll have to remember to use it.

    I have been thinking about opportunities for.mischief, for understands how Goodhart’s Law works with regard to how issues evolve than one can use that knowledge to manipulate social change. With renewables, the original effort was sold as decarbonizing what was.a.reliable grid which given that the reliable grid.already existed the key measure that was focused on was amount of Carbon. Now of course that carbon measure has become the target

    Large scale political/social movements are vast coalitions of.groups with different agendas which have a common point of connection. There is an intellectual history going back to Lenin of.small yet cohesive and motivated dominate the larger coalition.for.its.own purposes. To us want to.lower the.amount of carbon and maintain.a.reliable.grid, solution is nuclear yet not only has it gained little traction, why? Part of it is the vast amount of money to be made through government renewable programs but it me the driving.intellectual force is to reduce the.amount of energy for.modern society… See “Ehrlich + nuclear + machine gun” … Extreme outliers? How else to explain the antipathy to nuclear?

    So Is really all carbon is simply a deliberate macguffin in an effort to reduce modern society? Is the proper term the “weaponiztion of carbon” keeping in mind that weaponiztion is a term and tactic recognized by the left?

    Another dimension came up this morning at the gym reflecting on an actor who had an iconic role in the Band of Brothers HBO series but seemed to drop off the map afterwards. The other person said the actor will be always be remembered for his portrayal of the Greatest Generation but I wonder for how much longer “society” will revere them. Go back to 2020 with the movement to eliminate Confederate monuments in large part because they reflected a racist past and was able to create a broad coalition of people uncomfortable with commemorating not only racism but insurrectionism and the Lost Cause.

    Trump knew what was going on because this was a deliberate means of transforming a measure to judge Confederates (racism) to a target to go after what had previously been untouchable national icons (Washington, Jefferson) Information warfare, Overton window shifting at its finest but it takes what involves impersonal laws of human behavior such as your examples of surgeons and uses it to.manipulate it into transformative conclusions. Even though it was released in2019, the 1619 Project works the same way. As far as the Greatest Generation goes they are targets as well, Galaxy yes and I’m sure Chesty Puller might have said something about the Japanese that is triggering to someone in 2023.the measure used to judge Concentrated now becomes the target of purging society, didn’t start that way but….

    So much of the decarbonizing coalition just want to.reap.political, monetary, rewards from what they truly believe is just an investment into maintaining their lifestyle. However I think the more radical environmentals.driving force behind the coalition, intuiting Good art’s Law, can manipulate how the issue evolves

  28. The cost of anything is significantly influenced by the cost of the energy used to make it.

    At $200 a Kw a large range of opportunities open up. As Solar is an average kind of thing, power changes as the seasons change and the weather is a part of it, the ability to put up far more panels for the same money is golden.

    For my silly project, spending a grand on 5 Kw worth of panels, would make my power production easy. I need 120V and about 12A from my inverter and that is not hard at all. So a couple of grand will power my car most of the year, perhaps all the time. But BC Hydro is only 3c a Km, so it would mostly be a hedge against civilization collapsing. ;)

    Now adding battery capacity so I can do it at night as well, is probably a good idea but that’s for later, and will add significant cost.

  29. PenGun: “Now adding battery capacity so I can do it at night as well, is probably a good idea but that’s for later, and will add significant cost.”

    Sounds like you are beginning to see the flaw in the “renewables” argument. Just wait until those windmills and solar panels need replacing! You won’t have to wait too long.

  30. You really don’t understand how this works do you? Solar panels last a long time, some 25 years in fact, and if they can do a Kw for $200 they are a serious source of electricity.

    My silly setup will power my car quite well, just charge when there is power being generated, and as the cost is going to be so low to do this, I would be a fool to not look at it. I have an inverter and some of the bits already.

    I really don’t care about a full functioning solar power setup, so I can skip the batteries. Adding some will make it a pretty good off grid setup, should I ever want to do that.

  31. PV cells lose about 0.25% efficiency each year to UV degradation. Also, they tend to leach out metals to the ground beneath them

  32. No. Solar panels last 30 years and see very little degradation before about 25 years have passed. To be fair, 0.25% a year _is_ very little degradation.

    Studies done on Crystalline-silicon cells show no accumulations that are beyond safe levels of those accumulations. There are accumulations from test setups, but they are not, for the most common cells, a real problem.

  33. “You might consider that the farther north you are the steeper the panels are, but yes snow removal is a thing.”

    The article and picture I referenced were from Minnesota, likely not far south from where you are in Vancouver (Island?) The slope of the panels, as I recall, was less than the roof slope on my home in Central Arizona, where we average maybe 20″ a year snow. Those panels won’t clear until the snow melts. In April??

    There have been sensible and economic applications for solar (and maybe wind) for many years. Just as an example, throughout the southwest you will run across cattle watering tanks fed by well pumps hooked up to an on-site solar array. Too expensive to run power lines 50 miles from the nearest utility served paved roads. As time progresses, suitable circumstances will surely arise where other opportunities present.

    You happen to live where
    snowfall isn’t a big issue. BC has lots of precipitation, and the coastal locations see more rain than snow. Bully for you. When the sun don’t shine, you get cheap hydropower, plus the ability to get others to subsidize your vehicle purchase.

    Most people don’t live in such an environment. Frankly, most people wouldn’t want to. I didn’t have to swat a single mosquito last year. Can you say the same? That is worth a lot of money to me. Plus, my neighbors aren’t nuckleheads.

    Frankly Penny, all you have been telling us is that you will take other people’s money, and that your vote is for sale. We get it. You are also telling us that you are happy to prosper off of the misery of slave labor in Western China and the misery of child labor in the DRC. And you people call that progress.

  34. One cool thing about the newer panels is that they can take input from the back as well as the front. There are cunningly laid out panel sets in some very snowy country, where the light from the reflection of the sun from the back augments the direct sun from the front to the extent the whole thing maxes out, in the middle of the winter.

    Vancouver Island is as close to paradise as anywhere I have lived and I have lived in a lot of places. Mosquitoes don’t like me, they mostly leave me alone and bite other people if there are any. I don’t react to them either, possibly from being bitten by their stronger cousins in Nigeria.

    You don’t believe the rest, and neither do I.

  35. It seems the Solterra battery is from CATL and is very probably a LFP battery and uses little cobalt. The things you charge for your devices are almost all LiIon batteries, with a lot of cobalt involved.

    I have about 100 18650 LiIon left from my laptop mining adventures. Very useful but they do use cobalt.

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